The editors of Britain's tabloid newspapers have declined invitations to attend the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, following an approach from her brother, Earl Spencer. He attempted to contact the editors in person indicating he did not feel it was appropriate for them to attend tomorrow's service at Westminster Abbey. When he was not able to speak to them directly, he left messages with their assistants.
A spokeswoman for Lord Spencer said he had "personally asked the tabloid editors not to come, because he and his sisters, particularly Diana, would not have wished them to be there. They have kindly agreed to the request, although broadsheet and regional papers are welcome". - (PA)
Rachel Donnelly adds from London: Reeling from the shock of the death of Diana and struggling to set the right tone of a story with which they are "inextricably linked", the press, the tabloids in particular, yesterday turned its attack on Queen Elizabeth, accusing her of abandoning the nation in its hour of need.
The silence of the royal family has been palpable. Until yesterday, it was not just the people who were uneasy that there had been no formal statement from Queen Elizabeth, the press too pleaded for some word from Balmoral. When the paparazzi were the focus of the newspaper's anger, a series of articles called for tougher privacy laws. Now, with the funeral only hours away, news that Diana and Dodi's driver was drunk has caused the debate to be dropped and the press may feel it has played a part in the queen's decision to speak on television.
Yesterday, dismay had turned to anger, the Independent said, and the Guardian noted the difference in reaction between the British royals and the Prime Minister, Mr Blair. He had been forced to defend the "stoical" family under fire because they had not allowed a flag of any description to be flown above Buckingham Palace.
That "empty flagpole" stood as "a stark insult to Diana's memory", the Sun's editorial said.